Countdown to Operation Santa: 3…

This week at work consitutes my busiest week of the entire year. I am the Volunteer Coordinator for a gift-giving program called Operation Santa. For the past two months, we have conducted interviews with low-income families about what they and their children would like for Christmas. We have sought out groups to “adopt” these families, as well as to donate toys and money so that families who are not adopted can walk through our “Santa Store” and pick out presents with their kids.

OS-Day is Saturday, so we are three days out from this magical (albeit stressful) event. Yesterday many of us worked a 12 hour day, and I’m pretty sure today and tomorrow, along with Saturday, will be similarly long. We are tagging presents, setting up the store, and putting up signs. We were worried about the amount of donations coming in this year until yesterday when a local tribe group brought in four checks for $1000 a piece. They basically saved our gift program this year. Another aspect of this that is fortunate for me personally is the fact that this event has existed for a few years now, so there’s more to a science to it than there would’ve been five years ago. There are diagrams, procedures, and documents that merely need to be modified for this year. There’s a long standing volunteer database to pull from, and many people who know what is supposed to happen, even when I don’t.This year, we will be serving over 60 adopted families, and over 130 others who will walk through the Santa Store this Saturday. It feels like a post-college finals week in a way. Lots of prep for a short period of time on one day where everything must go right within a short period of time. I am very thankful for the volunteer support, particularly that of my AmeriCorps predacessor Neal, who is still on our team but working at another site this year. 

I desperately need to catch up on laundry, sleep, and personal time, but since all systems are go, those things will have to wait until Sunday when all of this is over. Looking forward to coming home next week and brainstorming different blog ideas to premier January 2012. Ah, California, I can’t wait to see you.